700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Candy and Tooth Decay: 4 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

Oct 24, 2019
Child wearing Halloween costume, trick-or-treating

You might think that dentists dislike Halloween, but it’s not true! We like to celebrate with you and your family, but we don’t want your child to be visiting us later with a toothache.

Here are some handy Halloween tips to help promote a healthier Halloween.

  1. Choose chocolate over sticky candy. Chocolate tends to melt away, whereas the sticky candies like caramels, fruit chews, gummies and candy-filled suckers tend to stick in the grooves of the teeth and hang out for longer than intended. My suggestion: peanut butter cups. There is even nutritional value in the peanut butter!

  2. Put a time limit on the Halloween candy. What causes cavities is the frequency of sugar on the teeth, not necessarily the amount. So, it’s much better (on the teeth) to eat a whole huge family-size bag of candy at once, than to savor and spread out the candies in a smaller bag. My suggestion: let your children eat as much candy as they want for 24 or 48 hours after trick-or-treating and then get rid of the rest. You can leave it outside the door and have the “Halloween Fairy” come and bring a present. This program will even buy back candy and send it to our troops overseas.

  3. Don’t tell kids to brush their teeth right after eating candy. Most people don’t realize that teeth get slightly “soft” after eating sugar because of the acid that forms on the teeth. If teeth are brushed immediately, the enamel gets brushed off. My suggestion: rinse with, or drink, water after eating candy to help dilute the acid and brush with fluoride toothpaste 30 minutes later.

  4. Pass out non-candy items. Many children have allergies to milk, nuts and food dye. My suggestion: If you pass out pencils, stickers, play-dough or small toys, some children and parents will be really appreciative. Plus, if you don’t get rid of them all, you can save them for Halloween next year! Read more about food allergies and Halloween here.

If your kids follow these tips, they can still have a lot of fun while keeping their teeth healthier.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.